Top 41: #7 LHP Steven Matz

Matz Leg KickBats/Throws: Right/Left
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 192 lbs
Acquired: 2nd rd ’09 (Ward Melville HS)
Born: 5/29/91 (Stony Brook, NY)
2013 Rank: #16Stats
Why Ranked Here: Matz moves up eight spots from a year ago because he stayed healthy all the through the season for the first time in 2013, and he was not just effective, but showed the stuff that could work in the middle of a big league rotation. With a good season in 2014, he could end in double-A with a potential MLB debut not so far away in 2015 if everything lines up perfectly.

 

He’s a three-pitch guy at the moment: fastball, breaking ball (yes, that’s intentionally vague) and changeup. He has good size and he’s become bigger and stronger since he was drafted. He repeats his delivery well enough, although there is some effort.

 

His fastball is a plus pitch. He was 92-97 mph over the course of 2013, sitting 93-95 in the playoffs. At times, particularly early in the season, he could lose feel for the offering and leave them up or outside to lefties. Matz is very aggressive with the pitch. He throws inside to batters of both hands, one of his stronger attributes. SAL batters could not handle the heat.

 

I like his changeup, which is thrown with good arm speed, and produces a little sink as his second pitch. It certainly looked like a plus offering at times to me.

 

Matz’s breaking ball is his third pitch at the moment. By spring training 2014, he was back to calling it a slider. In early 2013, he and Savannah Pitching Coach Frank Viola were trying to make this pitch a slider, but by the second half of the South Atlantic League season, they had abandoned that effort to focus on his curveball, which was his primary breaking ball in high school and early professional career. The pitch indeed shows promise with, when it’s right, good depth and late movement. It can get sweepy and he has trouble locating it for a strike. However, there are fewer spinners, than when he was trying to work on his slider. If memory serves, he did not throw a single strike with his curveball in his final start of the playoffs in the Gnats’ clinching win in Game Four of the SAL playoffs. The good news is  that Matz has demonstrated that he can spin the baseball, now he needs to learn to create consistent spin and shape to be able to use the offering.

 

One of the things bumping Matz’s rankings a little bit is that if his body does not stand up to starting, there should be a relief role waiting for a lefty who throws this hard.

 

It’s taken Matz a long time to get to this point.  Drafted in ’09, he signed at the old August deadline, and did not pitch that season. Then, he was diagnosed with a torn UCL in 2010. Various rehab setbacks from Tommy John surgery kept him out all of 2011. Even in 2012, Matz’s season ended early, after just six starts in the Appalachian League with shoulder tendonitis. His health is still a major red flag.

 
2013:  Matz got better as the year went on, culminating in a dominant performance in the Gnats’ championship clinching win in game four of the SAL Championship series. In his final 11 starts in the regular season, he put up a 2.19 ERA with an opponents’ batting line of .192/.287/.235 and a 75/24 K/BB in 61.2 innings. He struck out eight or more batters six times in those 11 starts. Oh, and then he added 12.2 scoreless innings over two starts in the playoffs with a 17/2 K/BB ratio.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Plus fastball, plus changeup, gimme an average breaking ball and this is a really good #2/#3 pitcher.
Debbie Downer Says: One healthy season in which he was old for his level, inconsistent breaking ball, shaky fastball command. No MLB impact.
Projected 2014 Start: Advanced-A St. Lucie.
MLB Arrival:  Late 2015/Early 2016

Recent Stats

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;ERA;G/GS;IP;H;R;ER;HR;BB;SO;HBP;WP;

2012 APP;1.55;6/6;29.0;16;10;5;1;17;34;1;0;

2013 SAL;2.62;21/21;106.3;86;36;31;4;38;121;5;1;

SAL Playoffs;0.00;2/2;12.7;5;0;0;0;2;17;0;0;

SAL Total;2.34;23/23;119.0;91;36;31;4;40;138;5;1;

[/sny-table]

 

 

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;BB/9;SO/9;SO/BB;HR/9;H/9;R/9;BB%;SO%;TBF;

2012 APP;5.3;10.6;2.0;0.3;5.0;3.1;14.3;28.6;119;

2013 SAL;3.2;10.2;3.2;0.3;7.3;3.0;8.9;28.3;428;

SAL Playoffs;1.4;12.1;8.5;0.0;3.6;0.0;4.4;37.8;45;

SAL Total;3.0;10.4;3.5;0.3;6.9;2.7;8.5;29.2;473;

[/sny-table]

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